Five thugs that have been terrorizing digital cab drivers arrested in Nairobi

Some of the vandalized vehicles that were recovered by DCI officers. Image/courtesy

Detectives based in Ruiru and Githurai have nabbed a five-member gang that has terrorised taxi operators in the city.

The vicious gang that operates between Githurai, Ruiru and Kirigiti in Kiambu mostly targets Little Cab drivers as well as Uber and bolt drivers.

In oone of the most organized crimes in the country, the gang would use one of them to pose as a client and request for a ride, while enroute to the destination, the ‘client’ would attack the driver by squeezing the driver’s neck from the back seat and then commandeering the car to a secluded area where his accomplices join him.

The driver is then robbed off his valuables after being assaulted and his vehicle vandalized within a few minutes.

According to the DCI, the thugs were so organized, complete with a specialized mechanic who vandalizes a vehicle within minutes of a carjacking and a customer relations expert, who lures unsuspecting taxi drivers to their trap.

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The detectives were acting on a tip off from the public. According to the DCI, on Monday following intelligence leads, Githurai and Ruiru based detectives apprehended the criminals comprising of Peter Njoroge Kirika, John Muchoki Gatuhu, John Kimani Nganga, Peter Mwangi Murima and Benson Itimu Kariuki.

In one such instance, on February 10th, one of the thugs using a fake identity requested to be taken to Kirigiti from Githurai Kimbo, to allegedly pick his ailing mother who needed urgent medical attention.

The unsuspecting cab driver then set off for the journey but on reaching Kirigiti where they were supposed to pick an ailing woman, a male adult emerged & entered the vehicle instead. The vehicle was then comandeered to Sasisni coffee bushes where three more thugs emerged.

They vandalised the vehicle making away with the headlights & tail lights, side mirrors, mirror switches, car battery and the spare wheel. No sooner had detectives completed their investigations on this incident, than the gang carjacked two other cab drivers in a similar fashion, robbing them off their valuables before vandalizing their vehicles & abandoning them in Mwihoko, Githurai in the dead of the night.

Three of the suspects are ex-convicts for various capital offenses including robbery with violence and murder.

A vehicle used by the gang, assorted allen keys, screw drivers and sacks for carrying vandalised motor vehicle parts were also recovered. Also recovered were original identity cards belonging to victims of crime, used to register SIM cards and lure unsuspecting cab drives and a mobile phone for making taxi requests.

They were arraigned in court in Ruiru yesterday & detectives granted 10 days to complete their investigations.

Digital cab drivers have for long complained about these criminals, who have been posing as clients and robbing them as well as vandalizing their vehicles.

They have for long pointed at the weaknesses in the digital app registration that does not have thorough verification of rider details making it easy for criminals to register as riders and rob them.

Some of the most notorious areas where these criminals lure the drivers to include Ruaka, banana and areas of Kiambu, Githurai, Kayole, Ruiru as well as other informal settlements in the City.

Digital cab companies also prohibit their drivers from canceling trips and penalize them for canceling a trip. This makes it difficult for the drivers with the threat of their account being blocked by the cab companies even in cases where they sense a danger.

It is highly advised for cab drivers to avoid taking riders to some of these locations in the dead of the night as chances of them being robbed increase.

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Njeru Kevin

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